Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop All Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Learn More Shop now DIYED Shop now Shop Fire Shop Kindle Oasis Listen with Prime Learn more Shop Men's Shop Women's

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars3
5.0 out of 5 stars
5 star
4 star
3 star
2 star
1 star

Your rating(Clear)Rate this item
Share your thoughts with other customers

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on 8 October 2012
I have tried like mad to get this documentary. I'd even have paid additional customs duty on the (German) film. Beware, this is NTSC format but using VLC on my Mac allowed unlimited playing of this DVD. I'm glad of this as I have already played it three times this weekend. What a fabulous documentary, told by the boys themselves. I cannot praise it enough. It is well worth the money. I was lucky enough to see/hear them in Manchester recently singing the St Matthew Passion. I followed this with the Vienna Boys Choir. There was no comparison. The Viennese were technically brilliant but lacked the humanity of the Thomaner boys. One of the younger Thomaner boys even waved at the audience at the end. It was good to hear/watch Oskar relate how the applause given at the end of a recital was just thanksgiving for all the extra hours the boys/ young men had given. Herr Biller, though unwell, was his inspirational self. I cannot praise this DVD enough. I leave the praise to others apart from suggesting that Bach is alive and well through the choir and the cantor.
0Comment|8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 3 September 2012
There's no such thing as alchemy but if there were Leipzig would be a good place to start your research. As if to coincide with the London arrival of one of the city's musical ambassadors, a film is released on DVD about another. Die Thomaner follows a year in the life of the St. Thomas Boys Choir, the bedrock of all musical life in the city. J.S. Bach dedicated the latter part of his life to Leipzig and, as this film testifies, his legacy lives on.

Filmmakers Paul Smaczny and Günter Atteln may have chosen a familiar year-long fly-on-the-wall format, but their subject is far from hackneyed. This year, the choir and school celebrate their 800th anniversary. It's a major landmark on the road to a millenium of education and music-making. But what is so appealing about the film is that is never lapses into self-satisfied propaganda, because it is the boys themselves who tell the story.

A new recruit arrives just as one of the choir's established figures leaves. Tears flow from the eyes of the latter, while the former can't wait to get going. Two choristers disappear to play on their Nintendo Wii, another practises his football punditry, dinner is served. 'We're just normal kids,' one treble insists. Focussing not on the choir's heritage, but on its current crop of musicians, we learn what has provided the inimitable chemistry for Bach's choir. Chiefly, the boys know how to socialise.

As soon as they arrive, the trebles are put in a study with one of the older boys. Passing on traditions and a respect for the institution itself may seem like a fusty return to the old days of Public School, yet the customs here revolve around something incorruptible. Providing the backbone to their repertoire and work, Bach is the greatest challenge for musicians young and old. Unjaded, undimmed by the passage of time, the choristers throw themselves into his counterpoint with abandon. Like Bach himself, it is how they weave the extraordinary from the everyday that is the goal of their work. The results speak for themselves.

But there are disappointments along the way. The exciting challenge of the B minor Mass is undercut when several boys aren't picked for the tour of South America. Others are noticeably shocked when upbraided for slack musicianship. In the Thomanerchor, the mundane and the memorable exist side by side. Smaczny and Atteln have captured both in touchingly modest terms. And, as if to remind us of the latter, recorded Bach: St Matthew Passion Bwv 244 (Christina Landshamer/ Stefan Kahle/ Wolfram Lattke/ Martin Lattke/ St. Thomas Boys Choir Leipzig/ Gewandhausorchester Leipzig/ St. Thomas Cantor Georg Christoph Biller) (Accentus: ACC20256) [DVD] [2012] [NTSC], showing musical alchemy at work.
0Comment|6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 7 January 2013
This recently-issued DVD - Die Thomaner ("the members of St Thomas's Boys' Choir") - is a very interesting documentary about the famous boys' choir based in Leipzig. Originally established in 1212 attached to a monastery, the choir celebrated its 800th anniversary in 2012. It currently has about 80 boys.

The documentary film, made in 2010, provides an insight into the everyday life of the choir over a period of one academic year, starting on the day of arrival of the youngest ones and ending on the day of graduation of the oldest ones. The choristers go through rigorous daily training and weekly services, while attending normal academic classes at St Thomas's School, a co-ed grammar school (Gymnasium). They also travel on performing tour to South America. There are interviews with some boys - candidly expressing their hopes and disappointments - as well as with the Music Director ("cantor") and school administrators.

It is well-known that even the then harsh and atheistic East German regime maintained the choir, although many other boys' choirs in the country were closed during those dark decades. Having been directed by Bach himself in his Leipzig years until his death, the choir keeps the tradition of performing works of Bach, as well as other composers, at St Thomas's Church every week.

Since I have collected many excellent recordings of Bach's works (cantatas, Mass in B minor, two passions, etc.) made by the choir, this DVD is of particular interest to me. I feel certain that the viewer will gain insight into the inner workings of this world-famous boys' choir.
0Comment|One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)